Copyright © 2020 Xiaonan Ma.

Build UX Workflows

Project Type

Design Management

 

Time

Multiple projects in 2016, 2018 and 2019

Key Words

UX Workflow, Agile, Sprint, UX Team

Team

UX Designer, Product Owner, Project Manager

Besides working on design projects at daily work, I enjoy thinking about design management topics, such as workflow, collaboration and communication. My academic and work experiences in management make me good at identifying workflow issues as well as finding improvement opportunities. Collaboration, design quality and work efficiency are my focus. I wish to create more values for product and business by improving the whole UX team. Below are some cases I’ve worked on.

Index

Case I: The First UX Workflow

 

Background
I joined The Cellular Connection(TCC) in 2016 and I was the first UX Designer in the company. TCC planned to build its own Point of Sale system and I was hired with other development roles. Since all development teams were new, my supervisor (product owner) and I together defined the UX design, review and approval workflows.

My Team

  • VP of Product

  • Business Analysts

  • Product Analysts

  • UX/UI Designer

Other Teams and Roles

  • Software Engineer team

  • Project Managers

  • Marketing department

  • Operation department

  • Legal department

Challenges and Solutions

  • We started from zero. We needed to find the best solution based on the new team structure and project’s needs.

  • Collaborate, learn and meet various needs of different stakeholders. 

  • The UX design workflow should guarantee deliver quality works in tight timeline.

  • Reviews and approvals by product owner and key stakeholders were required.

  • Design process should be transparent. Everyone should be updated and on the same page.

  • The workflow should fit into Agile work environment.

  • Find and use the right tools for design and process management.

1/1

After Launch

What worked well 

  • Good and comprehensive UX/UI design process.

  • Designs could be delivered on time with all important information.

  • Stakeholders were updated with the design process.

  • The review and approval steps made sure the design develop in the right direction.

What needed to improve 

  • The workflow was like for Waterfall environment. In reality, not all steps in the workflow were needed. Detailed actions were adjusted based on projects. The workflow could be simplified and flexible.

  • User research workflow hadn’t been defined.

  • Documentation step should be simplified.

  • There should be more collaboration and communication with software engineers within the design process.

Case II: Design Teams’ Collaboration

 

Background
In 2018, there was a project at TCC needed UX team and the Creative Design team to collaborate. Since the two teams have different workflows and design roles, we figured out how we could collaborate effectively.

Team Members

  • UX team: UX Manager

  • Creative team: Art Director and Graphic Designers

  • Project manager

Issues & Challenges

  • Besides the shared project, both teams also had other projects. The resource was limited. We needed to plan and assign tasks properly. 

  • Different tasks required different level of collaborations. 

  • The priority and resources needed of each task should be clear. 

  • Other stakeholders in the project should be kept updated and involved.

Solution

1/1

After Launch

What worked well 

  • The two teams had collaborated effectively and efficiently.

  • Stakeholders were actively involved.

  • Great communication that brought many wonderful ideas and designs.

What needed to improve 

  • Project management should be improved. The workload of each designer should be more balanced. 

  • Unexcepted situations should be considered. Sometime higher priority tasks from other projects impacted timeline and available resources.

  • Time estimation should be improved. Some design tasks missed deadlines. 

Case III: Customize Agile Sprint

 

Background
After weeks’ work at SS&C Eze Software, I realized the design planning stage wasn’t done well. I thought I could help to solve this problem by improving our team’s workflow. I shared my ideas with my supervisor and team, we together experimented and refined our workflows.

My Team

  • UX designers in the U.S. and India

  • UI Engineers

  • The Head of UX

Other Teams and Roles

  • Product managers

  • Project management

  • Software engineers

Issues & Challenges

  • UX designers were frequently asked by product managers of the status of current design status or when the design could be done. I think our design process or status was not transparent and stakeholders were not kept updated.

  • The size of design tasks were not clear. Some tasks may require weeks, and some may only need several hours. But they all showed the same on design  Kanban board.

  • There was no time planning of design tasks.

  • The priority of design tasks were not clear.

Solution

  • Suggest Sprint and Sprint planning for the UX team

What I learned about Agile and Sprint

Agile Focuses.jpg
The Sprint.jpg

The Workflow

1/1

After Launch

What worked well 

  • UX team learned how to plan for various design projects. We also learned how to break down a large design project into measurable tasks.

  • Time estimation for design tasks had been improved

  • Priorities are added to design tasks 

  • Product managers and other stakeholders are kept updated the design progress and when the design would be done.

What needed to improve 

  • More design review meetings are needed

  • Consider unexpected and emergency situations.

  • UX team should receive basic training about project management and Agile knowledge.